Category: National Institute of Justice

National Institute of Justice

Improving Analysis of “Trace DNA” Evidence

Sometimes forensic labs can find ample DNA in the evidence collected at a crime scene. Other times, investigators are not as fortunate. Evidence samples with low amounts of DNA may not yield a profile that investigators can use to match or exclude potential suspects. Researchers have a potential solution: direct polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This DNA amplification method allows scientists to add a swab or sample directly to the PCR, which eliminates the loss of DNA that traditionally occurs during DNA extraction and quantification {Description provided by the NIJ website].
National Institute of Justice

National Best Practices for Improving DNA Laboratory Process Efficiency

DNA forensic laboratories are at a crossroads. Faced with a rising demand for analysis and constrained by limited financial resources, laboratories must find new and innovative ways to reduce backlogs and increase productivity. The recommendations in this National Institute of Justice-produced guide, authored by experts in forensic science and laboratory management, are aimed at improving efficiency in a multitude of essential tasks that DNA forensic laboratories routinely perform. These tasks range from hiring and training personnel to formulating and enforcing case acceptance policies, implementing existing and new technologies and methodologies, managing casework and tracking laboratory workflows, analyzing data, and compiling final reports that nonscientists can comprehend. This guide’s recommendations are also designed to help laboratories anticipate changes — including technological advances and new legislation — that may affect their caseloads [Description provided by the NIJ website].
National Institute of Justice

Report to Congress: Needs Assessment of Forensic Laboratories and Medical Examiner/Coroner Offices

This report, which was mandated by The Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016, details the results of a national needs assessment of forensic science service providers conducted in 2017 and 2018. The needs assessment focused on services provided by forensic laboratories, medical examiner and coroner offices, and other forensic science service providers. As forensic analyses have expanded and become more sensitive, and as practitioners have established more evidence-based policies and capabilities, the broad demand for forensics has grown. Forensic laboratories and medical examiner and coroner offices are constantly working to address the needs of the field, balancing operational priorities to meet stakeholder requests while introducing innovative solutions to solve emerging criminal justice questions. This needs assessment compiled demonstrative evidence of how the field is adapting to advancements in technology, the volume and types of forensic evidence, and the evolving needs of the justice system [Description provided by the NIJ website].